Affidavit of Nonprosecution | Drop Assault Family Violence Charge

 In Criminal, Versus Texas Criminal Law Blog

Dropping Domestic Violence or Assault Cases

Assault Family Violence Charges happen more often that you think. An otherwise loving couple gets into an argument at a bar or argues over a sensitive topic and things somehow get out of hand. At times alcohol is a factor, or perhaps the volatile situation stems from an emotionally charged issue such as a sick family member or recent death. Harsh words at the wrong volume can quickly turn into the invasion of personal space which escalates to pushing and shoving, and in unfortunate circumstances more damaging forms of physical contact ensue. In the heat of the moment, one person typically realizes that tempers may have reached a point of no return, and they call the police.  Afterward things may be clearer and an alleged victim no longer wants or needs the case prosecuted. In this article, we will discuss what to do when that happens and how much help an Affidavit of Nonprosecution can be.

How Does an Assault Family Violence Case Get Filed?

Once the police arrive and investigate any claims of assault, typically one of two things take place. If the officer feels that the physical claims were not egregious or exaggerated, they may ask one of the individuals in the home if they can leave and stay somewhere else for the evening. On the other hand, if one or both parties have visible injuries, appear to be afraid for their safety, or if there is obvious property damage from the altercation, someone will be arrested.

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Can I Drop the Charges in an Assault Family Violence Case?

There are several possible offenses an individual can face after an alleged assault has occurred. Charges range from Assault – Contact which is a Class C Misdemeanor to Assault Family Violence Charges – Impeding Breath which is a Third Degree Felony. In many instances, the time lapse between the heated argument and an initial appearance in court has allowed all involved parties time to cool and mend fences. It is not uncommon for alleged victims to want to “drop the case” and move forward with life with the now Defendant. If you find yourself in a situation where you are the named victim in an Assault case, you should know that Tarrant County has a “No Drop” policy with regard to Assault Family Violence Charges.

What is the No Drop Policy for Assault Family Violence Cases?

For many years know the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office and the county Victim’s Assistance Unit has worked to provide assistance and a way of escape for those are involved in relationships with a pattern of domestic violence. The “No Drop” policy effectively means that an alleged victim cannot call the prosecutor and say, “never mind, I’m not mad anymore” and have the case dismissed.

What is the Process to Request a Prosecutor Drop an Assault Family Violence Case?

If you are resolute in your desire to stop the case from going forward, you should be prepared to go through some obstacles. First, you will be required to have a scheduled interview with a member of the Victim’s Assistance Center. Victim’s Assistance is located on the 5th floor of the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center at 401 W. Belknap Street in Fort Worth. The interview gives the case worker an opportunity to assess the situation surrounding the arrest and the possible degree of danger for you.

What is the Alternatives Class at Safe Haven?

From that point, you will be referred to Safe Haven to take a course called “Alternatives” at Safe Haven. The point of this course is to ensure victims of domestic abuse are aware of options for help in our community. Upon successful completion of the course, the alleged victim can return to Victim’s Assistance to complete an Affidavit of NonProsecution or ANP.

Affidavit of NonProsecution

An Affidavit of Non-Prosecution does not say the case won’t be prosecuted, but merely a sworn document which indicates the victim’s desire to not be involved and see the case closed. The particular weight a prosecutor gives to an ANP depends on a variety of factors. Some items that are likely considerations include the Defendant’s criminal history, the extent of the victim’s injuries, and other extenuating factors such as whether there were children present during the incident or if the victim was pregnant. The effect of an ANP can range from a rare dismissal of a case, an offer for the Defendant to plead to a reduced charge, or nothing at all – a mere additional hurdle for a prosecutor to overcome at trial. It’s important to note that as a victim you can and likely will still be required to appear in court as a witness. Most often prosecutors prefer that you come voluntarily, but they will issue a subpoena for your attendance if they feel it is warranted.

Domestic Violence Defense Attorney:

Make no mistake, there many people involved in abusive relationships that need and benefit from the in-depth safeguards in place in Tarrant County to ensure their safety. For those however who use the criminal justice system as a threat to gain control over their partner or for retaliation, the door opened by calling the police and inviting into your private affairs is not one which is easily shut.  If you are facing an Assault Family Violence case or wish the state to drop charges, call 817-203-2220 for help. 

Review: Felony Assault Dismissed

Source: Click to Read on Avvo

I came to Benson after my boyfriend already had a court-appointed attorney. We were extremely frustrated with the court-appointed attorney because that attorney wasn’t doing anything. We gave the first attorney a lot of evidence to consider and that went unused. The former attorney never visited J.B. in jail, didn’t keep us informed of what was happening on the case, or do any work from what we could tell. That first attorney didn’t believe us or work on the face. So we called Benson. From the moment we started talking, I knew Benson was cut from a different cloth. He listened, understood and was extremely informative. He walked me through the options and had a strategy for what to do. In addition to being available to talk to me on the case when I called, he also has a client portal where I was always kept up to date on the status of the case, Benson’s negotiations, and updates on analysis of the evidence we provided. Keeping me up-to-date gave me so much peace of mind. I had talked to several other attorneys when I was shopping for my attorney and all the others just cared about the money. Benson cared about us and seeing us through this case. Benson looked at the evidence in the case, was ready with forensic analysis of two cell phones. What he got eventually set J.B. free. We were set for trial in a felony court, and on the morning of trial the case got dismissed based on all the evidence Benson presented to the DA. He has presented to them multiple times on how weak their facts were, but it took being ready for trial for the State to realize they could lose the case or dismiss it. They dismissed it and J.B. came home to me. J.B. Benson came to the jail and visited with me on multiple occasions. First when he was hired, then to give me updates, then to prepare me for trial. He gave me his professional opinion about the risks and rewards of going to trial. He told me he believed we had a good shot, but no guarantees. But he was prepared. He prepared evidence for trial and was ready to step out in front of the jury. He gave me the confidence to stand on the truth. I knew I was locked up on lies, by an upset ex, but it was Benson’s analysis and skills that gave me assurance that I’d picked the right attorney. I am happy to be out and back with my friends and family instead of being wrongly convicted of a felony assault. Thank you Benson! I have recommended someone to Benson already and will keep doing so!”

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